10 Ways for Teens to Quickly Lose Belly Weight

Belly fat may be associated with middle age, but poor dietary habits and lack of exercise can cause weight to pool around a teen's middle. A concentration of fat at your stomach puts you at risk of developing conditions usually not experienced until late adulthood -- type 2 diabetes, high-blood pressure and heart disease. To reduce excess belly fat, overhaul your diet and lifestyle.

Satisfy Your System with Sleep

Sleeping doesn't burn a lot of calories, but it plays a big role in your ability to shed belly fat. A study published in the journal "Sleep" in March 2010 found that people younger than 40 who regularly slept less than five hours or more than nine hours per night had higher amounts of belly fat. Your body produces hormones that increase your appetite when you don't sleep enough -- and you're more likely to reach for sugary drinks and snacks to give you an energy boost. Aim to get the optimal seven to nine hours per night.

Eat Your Veggies

Replace high-calorie starchy foods on your plate with low-calorie leafy greens or orange vegetables. When you're out with friends, order a side salad instead of fries. Ask your mom to make extra veggies and opt for those instead of a roll. You'll fill up while eating fewer calories -- which helps with weight loss. When you lose weight, your belly quickly shrinks.

Get Out and Get Active

Run, jump, dance, swim or cycle. Increasing your activity level, which burns calories, helps your belly shrink. So, turn off the television or tablet and take a walk after school. Walk your dog or join a recreation center where you can shoot hoops with friends. If you like athletics, ask your parents about joining a youth soccer, basketball or lacrosse league.

Go Hard Sometimes

While more activity in general is beneficial, doing short bursts of very intense activities during some scheduled exercise sessions will help you lose belly fat faster. Adults and teens benefit from doing high-intensity interval training, which has been proven to alter hormones and affect the way in which the body metabolizes fat, notes a paper published in a 2011 issue of the "Journal of Obesity." Go for a run around your neighborhood and, after a short time running at an easy pace, pick it up for a block or two. Repeat these fast-paced bursts five to 15 times during your run to get benefits. You can do intervals on the bike or even with a jump rope -- the point is to work really hard for a minute or two and then rest so you can do it again.

Switch to Whole Grains

When you do eat bread or pasta, make it whole grain. A 2010 issue of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" published a study showing that increasing your intake of whole grains while lowering your intake of white foods, such as white sandwich bread and pizza crust, is associated with decreases in belly fat. Make this change while you're a teen so it remains a lifelong habit.

Don't Sweat the School Stress

You may not have the same stressors as your parents, but school and social stress can cause the same psychological trauma. This stress can cause your body to store extra fat in your belly. A study published in a 2011 issue of "Obesity" found that teen girls who reported significant peer, family, personal, and school stress were also more likely to have excess belly fat. Try yoga or spend some quiet time to avoid sweating the small stuff.

Nix the Snack Mix

Eating trans fats causes you to store belly fat, showed a 2007 animal study from Wake University researchers published in "Obesity." Although the Food and Drug Administration has banned the man-made fat as of 2013, it still lingers in a lot of packaged and restaurant foods. Skip any foods that list partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil as an ingredient.

Stop for a Morning Meal

You rush out the door to school or early-morning practice without eating. Not a smart move when trying to lose belly fat. In a study of 93 overweight teens, those who skipped breakfast had higher levels of belly fat, according to a study in a 2009 issue of "Obesity." Have a healthy breakfast, such as yogurt with a piece of fruit, whole-wheat toast with natural peanut butter or two hard-boiled eggs with an orange.

Ditch the Extra Sugar

Sugar adds excess calories to your diet which can cause weight gain around your middle. It also lacks the nutrients you need to grow optimally. Soda, baked treats, fruity breakfast cereals and even granola bars are a source of extra sugar -- reach for fruit instead. Opt for water instead of fruit drinks or soda.

Fill Up on Fiber

Eat more fiber and shrink your middle. Adolescents who had a higher fiber intake in a study of 559 teens published in the "Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism" in August 2012 also had less accumulation of belly fat than their low-fiber eating peers. Fiber is present in whole grains, vegetables and fruits.